In 2009 I bought a compilation called Dark Was the Night, an album benefitting the Red Hot Organization, a charity that raises awareness for HIV and AIDS. There were two songs on the compilation that I wanted to hear, but in order to get those two songs, I had to buy the whole album. At the time, I was still too young to have my own debit card so all of my iTunes purchases required that I use an iTunes giftcard. I hurried down to the nearest Walgreens to purchase an iTunes giftcard so I could listen to the new tracks. 

Even though I only expected to really listen to the two songs I was first interested in, Dark Was the Night introduced me to many, many, many musicians I love today. I simply cannot emphasize enough how influential the album has been on my music taste in the last couple years. 

Last week I came upon a Kickstarter fundraiser for a new Red Hot compilation through DM Stith’s Tumblr. The album is a tribute to the late Arthur Russell who died in 1992 from AIDS related issues. Russell was a musician who lived and worked in New York City and was active in the music scene there in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He has since been recognized as one of the most eclectic and influential musicians of that time. 

The album will consist of Russell’s songs covered by many well known musicians. I’m most excited to hear the covers from DM Stith’s band The Revival Hour, José González, Glen Hansard, and Nico Muhly+Owen Pallett. 

Go check out the Kickstarter page for this album and consider donating-it’s going to be fantastic. 

I’ve been talking about Poliça since the dawn of their public existence (which was just this past September) and I will finally have the chance to check out their live show later this month. I am pretty dang excited to see a band that has been creating so much buzz  and will surely be sharing it with you all once I’ve reveled in the full Poliça experience.

In preparation for their show, I decided it was time to give their new album Give You The Ghost a good listen through. The album has not officially been released yet (February 14 is the magic day), but you can purchase it digitally on iTunes and listen to it on Spotify. As I listened tonight, this song’s repetitive, siren-like synth going on in the background really stood out to me for whatever reason. It’s good stuff. Be sure to check out their upcoming tour dates and try to catch them before they start playing bigger clubs! 

Currently Listening. I have some great memories of driving up the east coast and through New York State listening to this album two years ago. It’s my quintessential summer music…I wish I was in Maine right now! 

St. Vincent- “Marrow”

Love this song and this video.  

10 Websites For Live Music Sessions

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Photo: From The Basement

Here’s a little list of some cool sites that record musicians doing their thing then share it with the world. Some of these websites have some really great videography, while others simply take musicians out of their element to create something interesting and stripped-down. Check them out if you haven’t already! 

La blogothèque: the Take Away Shows film bands playing in buildings, outside, in public places, behind closed doors, everywhere. 

Tiny Desk ConcertNPR gets bands to come in and then they film them playing three or four songs behind a little desk. Not much to it, but they are always really fun performances. 

Daytrotter: Records (no video) bands playing three or four songs and then puts the sessions online to download for FREE! 

The A.V. Club Undercover Series: This series puts a little spin on things- they’ve chosen 25 songs and 25 bands to cover the songs. When a band comes in they choose what song they want to cover but the later a band comes in, the fewer options they have for songs to cover…makes for some interesting combinations. 

The Black Cab Sessions: Bands playing a song in a cab. Cramped quarters, raw sound, and pretty video. 

Bandstand Busking: They describe what they’re doing pretty well- “Bandstand Busking brings life to unused bandstands across London. There are dozens of bandstands spread across the city, but when did you last spot one surrounded by a crowd excited to watch a talented band? We’re here to fill that gloomy void.”

Mason Jar Music: Although they don’t have many recordings under their belt yet, their efforts to find unused or abandoned spaces to record music has been really interesting so far. This NPR article takes a more in-depth look at Mason Jar Music’s goals in the music world. 

From the BasementBeautifully recorded videos and great photos in a more formal recording space. Definitely check this one out! 

The Wild Honey Pie: This site has a lot of sessions, but with lesser known musicians (at least I don’t know a lot of them…). I’m thinking this could be a great place to discover some new music! Note- the link above is for their Vimeo page, their website can be found here

They Shoot Music: Last, but not least is They Shoot Music, which is similar to La Blogotheque, but based in Vienna. They tagged the locations where they have shot on a google map on their website, which is sorta neat. 

Send me a message in my ask box or reply to this post if you know of any awesome sites similar to these…I’d love to add more to this list! 

Guys and gals, 

Here is a song from Mother Falcon- the best band I’ve been introduced to in a while. My friend Timmy lives in Austin, Texas and told me about these Austin natives. 

If you like music with a lot of orchestration (Beirut, Vampire Weekend, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, etc.) you should give them a shot. Their music is pretty catchy (at least to me) and has many low key moments as well as lots of pulsing, exciting moments going on all over the place. 

The video posted is the song Alligator Teeth and is very beautifully done. The song starts out with a girl singing quietly with strings in the background (lots of cellos!) and eventually picks up. They also bring in the horns around 1:40 which I absolutely love. 

Something else I love about this band is how freaking huge it is. They produce such a full sound, but it’s not as though there’s too much going on. If they ever make their way to Missouri, I will be there. 

If you have three and half minutes to spare, do take a listen. I’m thinking Mother Falcon will probably be around the music scene for a while, you should be one of the people who liked them before everyone else :) 

Get a free download of their song “Alligator Teeth” and “Fireflies” on their Bandcamp from their latest album Alhambra

Read this article, then watch the video. I haven’t spent much time listening to yMusic or My Brightest Diamond…but I think it’s about time. Both sound so incredible. 

"Stop being so sensitive! Burly men become girly men, turning pop music into a wuss-case scenario" by Jim Farber

Read the article real quick before you read my thoughts…it’s not too long.

My cousin sent this article to me…it makes me want to look into more writing like this or in opposition to this guys opinion. I think it’s quite interesting, but dang, I sure do disagree with him.

I think that the author doesn’t really realize that indie/alternative/folk music is how it is for a reason…just like every other genre. Musicians write their songs and feel compelled to write their music because of past experiences, what they think fans will appreciate, simply for themselves, or for whatever reason. Just like Bon Iver will write a song about his x-girlfriend or place that has had an impact on him, Lil’ Wayne will write songs about drugs and money. Music and genres very much go along with the idea that you are a product of your environment. The author is expecting indie/folk music to be straight up rock music…which it isn’t…most of the time. Most likely, the people who listen to Bon Iver, Sufjan or Iron & Wine appreciate the emotion and low key feel to their music….they aren’t looking for something tough and “manly” (which he never really defines). This author fellow thinks these musicians aren’t manly, but it just so happens a lot of girls like them because they think the opposite. I know that if a guy can write a good tune, most, if not all, girls are automatically more attracted. I can’t necessarily speak for the guys out there, but I know many, many guys who listen to folk music and enjoy it just as much…and probably don’t think these musicians are wussy.

Maybe the traditional idea of “manliness” is changing. Maybe a man isn’t just considered manly when he can chop some wood or sing about sex all the time. Another perspective of someone being manly is when they can articulate their emotions into a well thought out and beautiful song.

I think the author is complaining about something he can’t really change. If folk music doesn’t fulfill his manliness needs, then he can listen to Nickelback or country music that talks about drinking beer and riding tractors.